Archives For Bianchi


I’m kicking off the 2015 Great Cycle Challenge this week, to do my little bit to raise much-needed research funds to fight kids’ cancer.

My aim this year is to cover 500km or more over the next 31 days, and I’m hoping to raise over $1500. I’ll be blogging about it here, too.

So why am I doing this? Most of you know that we had a brush with the big C a few years back, so it’s our way of giving back to an awesome cancer community.

And because cancer is the single biggest killer of children from disease in Australia.

Every week, 12 Aussie families get the most frightening, crushing, brutal, awful news they’ll ever hear – that their child has cancer. And three kids die of cancer. Every. Single. Week.

Cancer turns up completely unannounced. It gives you no time to prepare, no time to respond.

And the battle with this godawful disease goes on for months and years at a time.

I should know – we’ve been through it, and we’ll deal with the fall-out for a long time to come.

Without continual research and treatment developments that are always going on in the world on paediatric oncology, our life story would be a lot different.

So that’s why I intend to ride 500km over the next month, in the midst of my normal family and work life.

But I really, really need your help. Please, sponsor me to support my challenge and to help our kids. Don’t worry – I’m kicking the tin, too.

To make a donation, simply view my page by clicking on the link below:

All funds raised will support the Children’s Medical Research Institute to continue its work to develop treatments and find a cure for childhood cancers.

And everything over two bucks is tax-deductible. The national tally already stands at nearly $900,000 before a wheel has been turned, and the Great Cycle Challenge has raised more than $3 million since kicking off in 2013.

Thanks for your support. Keep an eye on the blog, too – I’ll make it entertaining. If I can!


I’m going to write this series in a bit of an unusual way. The first part of each post will be about the Great Cycle Challenge, while the second part will be the first time I’ve put finger to keyboard to write about our time with Max and leukaemia. I hope it’ll be a good insight into why fundraising is so important.

A dream start - literally.

A dream start – literally.

Day one, and it’s a 0430 start. Sadly, it’s not to blearily tumble into Lycra and head out for a Wollongong-and-back loop on the Bianchi; instead, I’m writing this at 12,000m on my way to a work gig.

I’ve got 500 bike km to cover this month, and I’m warning you now – it’ll be a real battle to get them in.  My calendar resembles some sort of evil horizontal Tetris puzzle, sentencing me to 16 away days out of 31. Add to that the finalisation of a house purchase and our eldest in HSC mode, and the month of October looks short. Very short.

I have some cunning plans , though. Commuting for part of my daily 158km round-trip on a few days will add some valuable bike miles. Sitting on spin bikes at hotel gyms will account for a few more. Lunchtime rides, morning quickies, mountain bike epics… It’s going to be a stretch, but we’ll get there.


He looked so, so unwell, lying on the lounge that Tuesday morning. Pale, sunken eyes, a look of absolute exhaustion on his four-year-old face that shouldn’t have been there. That’s the thing about cancer; it’s an elusive bastard to detect. Our rambunctious livewire hadn’t been himself for a couple of months now. His once beloved swimming lessons had become a screaming match of reluctance, he’d been talking about “really sore legs”, and his colour… even my mum remarked on how pale Max was.

A shot taken at my brother Pete's birthday lunch just two days before Max was admitted to hopsital. He wasn't quite five.

A shot taken at my brother Pete’s birthday lunch just two days before Max was admitted to hospital. He wasn’t quite five.

There was a lot going on in our lives at the time, too. Mel’s beloved mum Jessica had died earlier in the year after a long illness, just missing the birth of our third child, Amelia. Naturally, we put a lot of Max’s behaviour down to the fact that he was a little boy now competing for mum’s attention. He wasn’t sick, per se – he just wasn’t himself.

But on that Tuesday, there was no doubt; it was time to go to the doctor. And as I drove to the office in Sydney, preparing for a trip to the States for work, I couldn’t ignore a small, but perceptible, sense of dread creeping into my stream of consciousness.

By lunchtime, though, Mel was ready to abandon the doctor’s appointment. “He’s back to normal,” she said tiredly; code for ‘he’s being a little shit again’. Max was a pretty difficult youngster, it has to be said, with poor sleeping routines and a very active sense of mischief. And just hours after looking so awful, he looked to be back at his best/worst.

I’ll forever be thankful that Mel took Max to our local GP, Dr Pam Jolliffe. We’re not doctor people, us Robsons, but it doesn’t bear thinking about if we’d skipped this one. The doc literally took one look at Max before ordering immediate blood tests and advising Mel to call me.

I was in with my magazine publisher at the time I got the text from a tearful Mel; a kind, patient and thoroughly decent man called Mike Koslowski. He’d been incredibly supportive through Mel’s mum’s illness, and boy, was I was about to test him again. I recall I made a lame joke about the Robson’s luck deserting them again, not knowing, of course, what the diagnosis of Max’s illness was. But I knew. I just knew. Something was not right.

Did I even post a pic of the completed Bianchi? I’m such an idiot… dark grey Ultegra all the way through, with a Dura Ace rear mech and sexy-as Fulcrum Zero wheels that are dead sexy. Hope BB. Carbon pedals. 46cm bars. Mmm.

Ignore the goofy bar tilt and dodgy tape job. They’re fixed now.

Saturday 14 January

KM: 29 and a bit

Bike: C2C

Jersey: Skoda

Time started: 0844

Time I should have started: 0700

Time home: 1000

Time ridden: Not long enough

Weather: moist and grimy

Smell: industrial rainforest

Coffee: Wanted a macchiato at Chickos kiosk in town but ran out of time

Soundtrack: Screaming Trees, Dust, Them Crooked Vultures, Them Crooked Vultures

Enjoyed: coming home

Didn’t enjoy: much at all

I want to change: my attitude

Late to bed again. A rotten night’s sleep. Pretty irky day outside. Under time pressure. And so I choked. Straight-up, lay-down piked out of my training plan for the morning. All I wanted to do was to push through last week’s okay effort, and make up for not having done squat all week (again). But no.

And having a guy on an old Repco, carrying a six-pack of VB on his bars, blow by you and stay ahead – now that’s encouraging.

Even now, after a shower and a sit-down, I’m still feeling pretty damn average, so maybe today was never meant to be. But that’s just it at the moment – I have to make hay with the days I do have, because I have less and less of them. My new job is cool, but it’s ramped up pretty hard pretty quickly, and I’m avoiding the gym like I’ll avoid the remake of Young Talent Time.

I did, however, print out Mark Fenner’s Mont 10-week training plan last night which, somewhat fortuitously, I can start on Monday and still finish in time for the Mont. It looks pretty hardcore, but I’ll study it today, divide it up and diarise the hell out of the next couple of weeks.

In fact, I think today will be a low-key day. I need to reboot…

So begins 2012

January 6, 2012 — Leave a comment

The amount of bullshit I put myself through each time I chamois up frustrates me immensely.

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